Building Enclosure Consulting

Facade Doctor

Entries for the ‘Energy’ Category

Visual Air Barrier Testing

Air flow through building enclosures is supposed to be controlled. It typically follows that all exterior assemblies such as walls, roofs, and transitions need to be practically airtight, with exception of dedicated air vents. Lack of air tightness often may indicate other deficiencies: water leaks, water vapor convection, transmission of odors, insects, insufficient noise resistance, […]

Typical South Florida Wall

The typical thermal insulation that I see in brand new buildings in South Florida (hint: I only see sick buildings) consists of layers of paper or plastic film and aluminum film. It’s found behind the interior sheet rock. The thermal performance is very prone to field installation quality, and we saw large thermal discrepancies in […]

Building Enclosures’ Challenges Unique to Airports

Question I hear quite often: What kind of architecture do you do?  Building enclosures are fairly similar in all buildings, so my response often confuses and disappoints an interviewer, who expects an answer running along the divisions of residential, public, commercial, healthcare, etc. However, upon reflection, building enclosures are not really similar in all buildings. […]

R value, U value, Resistance, Transmittance, Transmissivity, Conductivity, Conductance, etc.

It’s  very rare to find accurate information on Internet, so I am very happy to announce my recent  finding of this article about thermal resistance: it’s titled “K-Value, U-Value, R-Value, C-Value, Understanding the Value in All These Values,”and written by Gordon H. Hart P.E.  Those of you who attended my Thermal Engineering Seminar may remember how […]

Energy Monitoring

        This is the power measurement taken from a 3 ton central AC condenser in South Florida for one day. It’s a nice snapshot of an AC pulse, expressed in electrical current per time. For mathematically challenged: after multiplying the number of amperes showed on the vertical axis by ~230 volts (not shown […]

HVAC Zoning Considerations

If you live in America, you might have wondered why HVAC in your dwelling isn’t zoned. You can either turn it off or on, based on a single thermostat, in the most typical configuration. This is akin to having only one light  switch to turn lights on or off in the entire house. When compared […]

Greening Building Envelopes – Canned Seminar on DVD – Coming Soon

Duration: 1/2 hour, although your results may vary.  The educational seminar runs for approx. 1/2 hour running time plus introductions and presentations. The original source seminar consisted of 90 slides. Comments: Greening Building Envelopes discusses sustainability of building envelopes the way nobody has yet examined the subject before. This is as different from the average bromidic sustainability […]

3D Analysis of Cold Bridging in Curtain Wall Design – Canned Seminar on DVD

UPDATE: As of 6/15/2017 we are out of stock, and we are currently too busy to burn more. Send us an email and we will add you to the waiting list. Do NOT buy it – your order will be cancelled. Sorry. Duration: The educational seminar runs for approx. 40 minutes, (although your mileage may […]

Thermal Engineering in Building Envelope Design – Canned Seminar on DVD

Duration: The educational seminar runs for approx. 2-1/2 hours, (although your mileage may vary if you pause the show to read individual slides) running time plus introductions and presentations. The original source seminar consisted of 713 slides and was delivered at high rate of speed. Comments: Seminar describes the means and goals of energy engineering with respect […]

Winter Syndrome – Not So Much “Winter,” Anymore…

I have all kinds of people approaching me after my seminars, and I distinctively remember one gentleman who came to me in Coral Gables two or three years ago. He identified himself as a mechanical engineer and asked me for my advice. He said his son contracted a chronic respiratory illness after he replaced fenestration […]

High-albedo roof – DIY

I live near Miami, FL and high electricity bills drive me crazy. High electricity bill in South Florida means typically one thing only – your cooling is too expensive.  And the three largest solar heat gains in old single family houses come from windows, roofs, and ventilation. Windows were tackled by large shades, ventilation virtually […]

Online Video-on-Demand

I am currently in process of setting up the online video-on-demand system, which would make the facade engineering university videos available for an immediate download. It will require a paid site membership in order to view the videos. The idea is to replace the current system of producing physical DVD discs, which are still available via […]

War between HVAC and Facades



We not only conduct finite element (FEA) thermal simulations, but also validate them and investigate failed assemblies in the field by thermovision. This kind of analysis provides useful information about temperature differentials reflected from surfaces of analysed materials. In turn it can tell us about any air leakages, thermal bridging, and water content of building envelope […]

Computational Fluid Dynamics

What is computational fluid dynamics? These simulations are performed as a virtual wind tunnel analysis (e.g. for shape optimization or tracing wind-borne projectiles) or for identification of boundary conditions for thermal analysis.

One-dimensional Transient Hygrothermal Analysis

One-dimensional Transient Hygrothermal Analysis. Would there be a water damage inside, at the absence of any rain intrusion or plumbing leaks? Microbial growth? We found the answer in many cases is yes. These analysis are performed in design stages, in order to assess the moisture behavior of very simple assemblies. Most typically performed to assess […]

Solar Analysis for Architects

What kind of shade would you prefer to have over your head in the oppressively hot and sunny South Florida?  Many people choose their umbrellas (at the absence of rain). Solar energy may not be enough to run my photo voltaic system, but it is powerful enough to cause serious sunburns. Playing with aesthetics of miscellaneous facade expressions, you […]

Window Access to Icicles

Note the dark cracks originating from the upper window corners…

Window Ventilation

A little background for our American friends: Europeans suffer from excessively air-tight living spaces (while Americans still busily try to figure out how to increase the air tightness). The typical perimeter hardware of an European window allows for untying the window, securing it with a small gap at the top. In this case, it was […]

AC Retrofit at the Cost of the Window

In the battle between thermal and visual comfort, the thermal wins.

Winter Window Condensation

What did you first notice on this photograph? If you are a sad individual like me, you noticed the condensation on the glass, which obstructs the view of the yellow wings and the black belly of the tit outside. This photo shows two environments inhabited by the tropical bird one one side, and the winter […]

One-dimensional Transient Hygrothermal Analysis

Would there be a water damage inside, at the absence of any rain intrusion or plumbing leaks? Microbial growth? We found the answer in many cases is yes. These hygro-thermal analyses are performed on facades of buildings in design stages, in order to assess the moisture behavior of very simple assemblies. Most typically performed to assess the […]

2-Dimensional Steady State Thermal Analysis

2-Dimensional Steady State Thermal Analysis is performed on simple assemblies to identify the thermal transmittance (U value) and assess the condensation risk.  What is the thermal transmittance? It’s composed of the three modes of heat transfer: thermal heat conductivity, thermal heat conductivity, and radiation thermal.   It’s often expressed as U values (for windows, curtain walls, skylights, and other […]

Whole Building Energy Modeling

Whole Building Energy Modeling is the energy analysis to estimate the building energy use. It’s often performed for the comparative analysis of design trade-offs to meet the predefined energy goals. Also, it’s an important part of the energy rating process, particularly when combined with the air tightness verification in the field.  Required by many energy conservation building codes for energy […]

Solar Heat Gain and Shading Studies

How much energy can you save by adding exterior shading? What would be the return on investment on a better window? How about adding a shaded patio? Wouldn’t it get too dark inside? The only way to find out is to simulate these alternatives ahead of time, because the same component would perform differently in […]

Daylight and Illumination Studies

Would it be too dark in the working spaces? Would prison guards be blinded by glare from windows precisely when inmates are out? We never loose the primary function of glazing from sight: letting the natural light in.We perform daylight simulations and illumination studies to verify the daylight factor. Particularly useful in verification of compliance […]

3-Dimensional Transient Thermal Analysis

3-Dimensional Transient Thermal Analysis are performed to assess the passive solar design with materials of large heat storage capacity or to assess the condensation risk. Useful in analysis of 3D assemblies made of high-heat storage capacity materials, such as masonry and concrete precast. Would they store and release enough heat to ride through the cold […]

3-Dimensional Steady State Thermal Analysis

3-Dimensional Steady State Thermal Analysis are performed chiefly to assess the condensation risk of those details that escape the 2D representation, such as shading brackets, anchors, and framing intersections  in verification of impact of thermal bridging caused by components penetrating the heat-control layer in two directions. The image above shows the Sample 3-Dimensional Steady State Thermal […]

“What is Thermal (Heat) Transfer in Building Construction?”

Consulting architects, I often get surprising elementary questions. Building architecture design of glass houses resulted in careers for consulting engineers occupied full-time by 3-d modeling heat transfer, while some facade architects still ask why double glazed windows or doors are required by building codes. Here are some frequently-asked questions:

Using 3D Modeling to Improve Performance Requirements – Free PDF

This article is about building construction, and more specifically about application of the finite element analysis to heat transfer and energy sources design analysis of glazing by a consulting architect engineer. The growing performance requirements introduced gradually in building codes or accepted voluntarily in order to achieve a recognized certification (e.g. LEED)  force architects to include […]

Thermal Simulations – Applicability

We  are sometimes asked to simulate or test assemblies, in order to verify whether the inferior specifications are met. It’s always awkward for us to volunteer to identify the engineering question actually worth answering, or to actually respond to the question no-one have asked. For the benefit of those specification writers who are still on speaking terms […]

Vapor Retarders in The South

This time of a year in the South, we experience very high water vapor pressures, manifesting itself by miscellaneous moisture problems of mysterious nature. Do you feel uncomfortable, your printers and copiers fail to print, envelopes glued themselves together, steel is covered with a thin layer of rust, wood delaminated and bowed, pests overrun the place, and […]

Glass Coolness – Additional Clarification

This is a follow-up to the post titled “Glass Collness.” In response to my critique of the FBC  insulated glass requirement in the South Florida, we received a question from an architect, who wrote: “Surely you would not claim that double glazing with a low-e coating on the #2 surface would cause more energy use […]